Emergency medical equipment storage: benefits of visual cues tested in field and simulated settings

Grundgeiger, Tobias, Harris, Bonnie, Ford, Nicholas, Abbey, Michael, Sanderson, Penelope M. and Venkatesh, Balasubramanian (2013) Emergency medical equipment storage: benefits of visual cues tested in field and simulated settings. Human Factors, OnlineFirst 1-15. doi:10.1177/0018720813514605

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Author Grundgeiger, Tobias
Harris, Bonnie
Ford, Nicholas
Abbey, Michael
Sanderson, Penelope M.
Venkatesh, Balasubramanian
Title Emergency medical equipment storage: benefits of visual cues tested in field and simulated settings
Journal name Human Factors   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0018-7208
Publication date 2013-12-06
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0018720813514605
Open Access Status
Volume OnlineFirst
Start page 1
End page 15
Total pages 15
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: We tested the effectiveness of an illustrated divider (“the divider”) for bedside emergency equipment drawers in an intensive care unit (ICU). In Study 1, we assessed whether the divider increases completeness and standardizes the locations of emergency equipment within the drawer. In Study 2, we investigated whether the divider decreases nurses’ restocking and retrieval times and decreases their workload.

Background: Easy access to fully stocked emergency equipment is important during emergencies. However, inefficient equipment storage and cognitively demanding work settings might mean that drawers are incompletely stocked and access to items is slow.

Method: A pre-post-post study investigated drawer completeness and item locations before and after the introduction of the divider to 30 ICU drawers. A subsequent experiment measured item restocking time, item retrieval time, and subjective workload for nurses.

Results: At 2 weeks and 10 weeks after the divider was introduced, the completeness of the drawer increased significantly compared with before the divider was introduced. The divider decreased the variability of the locations of the 17 items in the drawer to 16% of its original value. Study 2 showed that restocking times but not retrieval times were significantly faster with the divider present. For both tasks, nurses rated their workload lower with the divider.

Conclusions: The divider improved the standardization and completeness of emergency equipment. In addition, restocking times and workload were decreased with the divider.

Application: Redesigning storage for certain equipment using human factors design principles can help to speed and standardize restocking and ease access to equipment.
Keyword Health care quality improvement
Patient safety
Equipment design
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online before print December 6, 2013,

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering Publications
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sat, 22 Mar 2014, 03:44:40 EST by Professor Penelope Sanderson on behalf of School of Information Technol and Elec Engineering